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How to Lose Belly Fat

How to Lose Belly Fat
Belly fat is one of the more stubborn types of body fat to lose, and most people struggle with losing it and targeting it. There are dozens of diets that claim to be effective at targeting belly fat as well as products and exercise routines, but the science behind losing belly fat is fairly simple and easy to understand. Once you know a bit about how to lose belly fat and what causes and contributes to it, you can come up with your own plan to lose it that is tailored to your lifestyle, habits, diet and exercise routine. The key to losing weight and losing belly fat is to know yourself and your own weaknesses and strengths. Keep in mind that the main strategy behind losing belly fat is to target weight loss all over, while avoiding the habits and lifestyle choices that can cause weight gain and stress.

Belly fat is one of the most dangerous types of fat

You should be aware of the fact that belly fat is one of the most dangerous types of fat to have, and the more belly fat you have the more of a chance that you have the extremely dangerous visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that cushions the organs, and although you need a small amount of it to protect your organs from shock, too much of it is associated with chronic illnesses. A large stomach is associated with a higher amount of visceral fat, which in turn is associated with type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and many other problems. It is also a sign of metabolic syndrome, a dangerous disorder that can leader to chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. Essentially, you should be motivated to lose belly fat not just for the appearance benefits, but the many health benefits, and this knowledge should only add to your motivation to lose it.

Belly fat is not easily targeted

Another important thing to know is that belly fat is very difficult if not impossible to specifically target. When it comes to losing it, you need to focus on decreasing your overall body fat percentage. It helps to know what your body fat percentage actually is, and there are a few methods that you can use to measure it such as the caliper test which can be purchased online, but as soon as you have your body fat percentage you should set a goal to reduce it to a healthy level. Men need 2-5% and women need 10-13% body fat as a minimal essential fat percentage. Athletes are around 14-20% for women and 6-13% for men, while fit women are 21-24% and men are 14-17%. The average is 25-31% for women and 18-24% for men, and obese is 32% or more for women and 25% or more for men.

Set a goal to reduce your body fat and weight

If you are above average or obese, you should set a goal to both reduce your weight and your body fat percentage gradually. Be realistic with your weight loss goals, and set specific goals for weight loss. A diet like the HCG diet can be very effective at helping you reach your weight loss goals, and you will almost certainly lose a large amount of belly fat with this diet, as most patients lose around 15 to 40 pounds or more on the three week or six week diet. With the six week diet you are certain to lose a large amount of belly fat, and it can be a quick and effective way to get back to a healthy lifestyle and reset your metabolism so that you burn fat naturally.

Eat foods that help you burn belly fat

When you aren't dieting, you need to be eating as many healthy foods that can help you burn fat as possible. There are dozens of metabolism boosting foods and blood sugar stabilizing foods that can help you fight belly fat and stay full throughout the day without having to snack. Snacking and eating high carbohydrate foods or processed foods is a major cause for belly fat gain. Foods like nuts, whey protein, Greek yogurt, berries, protein and meat, apples, and most low glycemic index fruits and vegetables are great for helping your body burn fat and avoid weight gain. Most importantly these foods do not break down quickly into glucose and are not easily stored as fat like most high carb processed foods, and they won't add weight to your stomach or elsewhere.

Exercise as much as possible to lose belly fat

Exercise is great for boosting your body's natural fat metabolism, which is key for preventing belly fat gain and also burning the fat that you already have. You should get at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 times per week when you are trying to burn fat, and combining exercise with a healthy diet can be a very effective way to reduce body fat and thus belly fat. You should spend as much time as you can per week exercising, and don't think you can just diet to reduce your belly fat and body fat, because dieting does have limitations. Dieting can help you get on the right track and is probably the most important aspect of weight loss, but in the long term you will need to exercise to stay thin and offset any mistakes that you make with your diet.

Do the right type of exercise

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best exercises to reduce your belly fat and overall body fat percentages because it boosts your metabolism for at least 12-14 hours after the workout is finished. This type of exercise involves performing short bursts of high intensity intervals for pretty much any workout that you can think of, followed by a short rest. An example of interval training might be 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking or resting, and repeating this 7 or more times. You can come up with your own interval training workouts or find plenty of them online, but the key is to do this type of working as much as possible because it can help your body release HGH, which is effective at increasing fat metabolism, and it also burns more calories than most workouts. Cardio exercises are great, but doing them as HIIT exercises will definitely help you burn belly fat and get more out of your workout.

Get rid of junk food

One of the biggest culprits for belly fat gain is junk food as well as alcohol, and getting rid of the junk is almost essential if you are trying to lose belly fat. It is even more important to stop eating junk food as you age, as it can be more difficult to lose belly fat once you get older, and junk food contributes to weight gain very easily. Aside from the chemicals and additives that can wreck havoc on your normal metabolism, junk food is often made with unhealthy fats that can cause belly fat gain, inflammation, and sugar which is easily converted to fat. The inflammation that junk food can cause can cause the release of cortisol, which is associated with weight gain around the midsection, and chronic inflammation makes it very difficult to lose belly fat because your body is in a "€œfight or flight"€ mode where it wants to conserve fat instead of burning it.


About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read